A recent Groupon adventure led me to the heart of Cottonwood, AZ. The town is best known for its abundance of wineries and wine tasting rooms. But you would be remised if your day trip to Cottonwood did not include a visit to THAT brewery.
THAT brewery is located in the back of a small industrial park. The warehouse-style building, parked tractor-trailers, and pallets of empty kegs leave no doubt that authentic craft beer is being brewed and canned onsite.
The tasting room comfortably seats a couple dozen patrons. There are several wooden picnic tables spread throughout the bar area and production floor. The walls appear to be adorned with reclaimed hardwood. You also see a couple of chalkboards displaying what’s on tap and a string empty beer cans that have been converted into lights. The wood cabin décor is fitting for this small town mountainside brewery.
Word of caution; the Cottonwood THAT brewery location does not have a kitchen so I recommend carbing up before your arrival. Small prepackaged snacks are available from behind the bar, and complimentary popcorn is typically available (unfortunately the popcorn machine was out of order on my visit).
The brew will not disappoint. With 12 beers on tap, you are bound to find something to your liking. I opted for the RoadRash IPA. This American style IPA weighs in at 7% ABV. It has a vivid clear amber hue crowned with a thin foam head. Before your first sip, you will pick up on subtle floral and citrus aromas. Grapefruit, pine, and pleasantly dank hops are the most prominent flavors in this well-balanced IPA.
A day trip to the north is mandatory to escape the sweltering summer heat of the valley. Make sure your road trip itinerary includes a stop at a small town craft brewery. Don’t forget THAT!
-AZ Survival Guide
We are slightly past the halfway point of 2017 and it is safe to say I’ve just experienced the craziest cocktail of the year thus far. On our annual road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas, my wife and I decided to roll the dice on a new restaurant off the strip called Sparrow + Wolf. This hip modern eatery is located about a mile from The Palms. The food was delicious! I ordered the Campfire Duck which was cooked to perfection. This was a decadent combination of medium rare moist duck breast topped with a smoky melt-in-your-mouth slice of foie gras. It is served atop wood ear mushrooms and a gravy-like salted cucumber, plum and duck bone broth ($22.00) But heads up – anticipate upscale restaurant portions. If you come hungry, you’ll leave hungry. But sometimes in a city full of all-you-can-eat buffets, a little moderation is a nice change of pace.
Now a good rule of thumb is when you see the cocktail section of the menus label “Libations”, you are in for an artisan handcrafted treat. With names like “Get Off My Lawn” and “Where There’s Smoke”, choosing a single drink to go all in on was the biggest gamble I took this weekend. The cocktail I opted for was titled “Jump The Shark ” (think Happy Days). The description read Plantation Pineapple Rum, Peanut-infused Bourbon, Banana, lime and Mint. Pretty much every major food group. Believe it or not, this was quite tasty – a great balance of sweet and tart. The subtle hint of banana added an interesting and memorable finish. Our server described this drink as ” the strongest drink on the menu” and this gentleman was speaking the truth. Here’s the best part- this Sharknado of rum and bourbon is served in a gray and sky blue ceramic shark’s head! That alone makes this crafted cocktail worth trying. (Footnote; I learned the hard way that the ceramic shark head is “not a souvenir “)
Take a trip off the strip. The smoke filled casinos, celebrity chef restaurants and $10 Bud Light bars will always be there. Next time you’re in Vegas, grab a drink, a bite and a breath of fresh air at the Sparrow + Wolf.
– AZ Survival Guide